Gog and Magog Part 2

IV. Futurists/Premillennialists have had a habit of unnecessarily assuming that certain prophecies must have future fulfillments rather than historical fulfillments since such fit better with their scheme of prophetic interpretation. A. They assume that certain prophecies of Israel’s regathering and rebuilding in their land have a distant fulfillment but Scripture shows a satisfaction of such prophecies in history. EZR 1:1-3. 1. NOTE: After the Jews returned to their land from Babylon, there is thereafter NO positive mention of a return/rebuilding in the post-captivity O.T. books. 2. The one post-captivity reference to a future return/rebuilding is that of a futile attempt by Esau/Edom (MAL 1:1-4), and Esau spiritually represents the non-elect portion of the descendants of Abraham. ROM 9:6-13. B. They assume that Israel of old never received all the land promised in the Abrahamic covenant so this awaits fulfillment in a future millennium. 1. “It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land...” (Scofield’s footnote on DEU 30:3) 2. But Israel DID possess all of the land in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. JOS 11:15, 23; 21:43-45; 22:4; 23:14-16; 1KI 8:56; NEH 9:7-8 c/w JOS 17:12-13. C. They assume that the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy did not immediately follow the 69th week but was put off until the distant future (one of Scofield’s gaps), yet the 70th week was required in history for the cutting off of Messiah. DAN 9:24-26. D. They assume that the O.T. prophecies of a coming kingdom of God (e.g. DAN 2:44) were were meant for a future dispensation, yet Scripture shows the kingdom of God to have been a present reality into which men were pressing by faith in Christ’s days. LUK 16:16; MAT 21:31-32 c/w LUK 7:29-30. E. With such a sketchy track record of overlooking historical fulfillment of prophecies, it would be advisable to think twice about concluding that the “Gog and Magog” battle of EZE 38-39 must be referring to something that awaits fulfillment.

V. Here are some of the arguments that are used to support the idea that the “Gog and Magog” battle of EZE 38-39 must be referring to something that awaits fulfillment. A. The prophecy uses terms like “latter years” and “latter days.” EZE 38:8, 16. 1. It is therefore assumed that a near/historical fulfillment cannot answer the prophecy; it must be referring to something at the end of time. 2. latter: Belonging to a subsequent or comparatively advanced period; later... 5. That has been mentioned second of two, last of a group of more than two, or at or near the end of a preceding clause or sentence: opposed to former. [Note EXO 4:8] 3. Moses’ prophecy of evil upon Israel in the latter days has a fulfillment as near as the days after Joshua’s death. DEU 31:29 c/w JDG 2:19-20. 4. Nebuchadnezzar’s dreamed image symbolized what would happen in the latter days, to wit, “...what should come to pass hereafter...” (DAN 2:28-29). a. The image represented four successive world empires, beginning with Babylon. b. The rest of Daniel plus other O.T. scriptures identify the next two as the Medo-Persian and Greek empires, the latter being replaced by Rome. c. “Latter” obviously meant latter from their viewpoint, not the end of time. The “latter days” of necessity had a historical fulfillment. 5. JER 30:24 must refer to the latter days after the Babylonian captivity when the Jews would have been restored to their land. JER 30:17-22. a. Similarly, nations like Moab and Elam were promised recovery from captivity in the latter days. JER 48:47; 49:39. b. Their liberation would be in latter days AFTER the Babylonians’ power, even as was the case with Israel, all historical fulfillments. 6. The post-captivity rebuilt temple was the latter house as opposed to the pre- captivity former, not an imagined rebuilt temple in a future millennium. HAG 2:9. 7. The pre-captivity prophets were the former prophets (ZEC 1:4; 7:7, 12), implying that the post-captivity Zechariah was of the latter prophets. 8. The pre-captivity days were the former days (ZEC 8:10-11) which logically implies that the post-captivity days were the latter days, per the definition of latter. The return from Babylon was a signal watershed moment in time for Israel. 9. Therefore, “latter days” or “latter years” in EZE 38:8, 16 does not forbid a historical fulfillment and does not demand a future fulfillment. B. EZE 38:8 describes Israel as being “...brought forth out of the nations...” 1. Futurists assume a modern-day fulfillment from this on the supposition that the return at hand was only from Babylon, not from nations. 2. The notion is that Israel was scattered to the nations in 70 A.D. and was not regathered to that land as a nation until 1948 A.D. 3. But at the Babylonian captivity, Israel was dispersed into the nations as well as into Babylon itself. EZE 6:6-9; 12:10-15. 4. Their seventy-year Babylonian captivity would end and they would then be gathered from all the nations to which they were dispersed. JER 29:10-14. 5. EZE 39:27-28 speaks of Israel returning from captivity “...out of their enemies’ lands...” 6. Therefore, it is an error to conclude that Israel being “...brought forth out of the nations...” (EZE 38:8) must have a distant future (modern-day) fulfillment.

C. EZE 38:2; 39:1 prophesy against “...Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal...” 1. In these chapters, Gog’s confederate army consists of Magog, Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, Togarmah, Tarshish, Javan, Sheba and Dedan. These tribes/nations are most likely the descendants of Noah’s grandsons and great grandsons, bearing their founders’ names. GEN 10:1-7. 2. Such nations were relatively close to Israel and were then known to Israel for their commerce at Tyre, “...a mart of nations...” (ISA 23:3) c/w EZE 27. 3. Futurists like to locate these tribes/nations in distant lands, conspicuously Russia. a. This is largely based upon the observation that the word translated “chief” in EZE 38:3 is ro’sh (SRN H7218), and hence, Russia! b. In the Revised Version, the word was left in Hebrew form and the verse rendered, “...O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” This turned an adjective (chief) into a proper noun and added fuel to the Russia speculation. c. The Hebrew, ro’sh, appears about 600 times in the Hebrew O.T. and is alternately translated as closely synonymous terms: chief, head, top, principal, etc. d. Its use in 1CH 27:5, “chief (ro’sh) priest” is not referring to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church! 4. However, once Russia was assumed to be involved in the prophecy, Meshech is supposed to mean Moscow, and Tubal is supposed to mean Tobolsk (cities in Russia). The slight similarities in letters are assumed to be significant. a. However could it not be alternately argued that Moscow is actually from the name of one of Daniel’s Hebrew brethren, Meshach? DAN 1:7. b. Some think Gomer (EZE 38:6) means Germany. There are similar letters in those names and both start with “G.” But so does Guadeloupe, Guatemala and Guesswork. c. If Meshech be Moscow, Tubal be Tobolsk, and Gomer be Germany, we should hope for more concrete proof than similarity of letters. d. We further doubt that Javan is Japan, or Dedan is Denmark or Dedham (Mass.) or that Togarmah is Togo, Tonga or Tobago.

D. It has also been speculated that since Gog would go up against unwalled villages (EZE 38:11), this must refer to modern times when walls are obsolete. 1. Though ancient cities commonly had walls (like Jerusalem), smaller population centers commonly did not. LEV 25:29, 31; DEU 3:5; EST 9:19. 2. Therefore, it is an error to conclude that EZE 38:11 must be referring to modern times of unwalled towns or villages.

VI. The description of the attack by Gog is that of an ancient battle, not a modern one. A. The invaders come on horses. EZE 38:15. 1. Are we to believe that modern-day Russia is going to revert to horse cavalry to go up against a nuclear Israel? 2. Togarmah was one of the confederates (EZE 38:6) and it is identified as being a contemporary power who traded with horses in Tyre in Ezekiel’s day. EZE 27:14. B. The weapons and armor used by the invading army are primitive. EZE 38:4-5. 1. The weapons are largely of wood and used as firewood. EZE 39:9-10. 2. This is likely not figurative of an AK-47 with wood stock and forepiece. 3. Futurist gospel tracts speculate that a manufactured wood product (lignostone) is very strong and it can burn like coal. Of course, this implies that modern-day Israel will have reverted from fossil-fuels, solar power, etc. to firewood. 4. The description in EZE 38-39 is clearly more akin to a time when people relied upon wood for bows, arrows, spears, shields and firewood, not to post-1948 Israel.

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